Each season FIFA publishes an extensive ‘Laws of the Game’ guide which describes the rules of soccer. Here is an overview of the 17 laws of the game. Click on the subject headings to read about the laws in greater detail.
The size 5 ball, used by ages 12 and above, is spherical and made of leather or some other suitable material.
It must not weigh more than 16 ounces (450 grams) and not less than 14 oz (410 g) at the start of a match.
The ball must be of a pressure equal to 0.6 – 1.1 atmosphere (600 – 1,000 g/cm2) at sea level (8.5 Ibs/sq in – 15.6 Ibs/sq in).
FIFA ‘Laws of the Game’ state that players are not allowed to use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or any other player (including any kind of jewellery).
A player’s basic equipment consists of a jersey or shirt with sleeves, shorts, stockings, shinpads and footwear.
The two teams must wear colors that distinguish themselves from the opponent, referee and assistant referees.
Law 7: The Duration of the MatchMatches consist of two 45 minute halves, unless the two teams and referee agree otherwise before the start of play. The half-time interval must not exceed 15 minutes, and can only be altered upon consent of the referee. A referee may play added time because of substitutions, assessment of injuries, removal of injured players from the field of play, time wasting and any other cause. An abandoned match is replayed unless the competition rules state otherwise.
- To begin a match
- If a goal has been scored
- To begin the second half
- To begin a period of extra-time.
Law 9: The Ball in and out of PlayThe ball is out of play when:
- It has wholly crossed the goalline or touchline
- Play has been stopped by the referee.
The ball is in play at all other times, including when:
-It rebounds off a goalpost, crossbar or corner flag and stays on the field.
-When it hits a referee or assistant referee when they are on the field.
Law 10: The Method of Scoring
Goal Scored:A goal is scored when the whole of the ball crosses the whole of the goalline between the posts and crossbar, provided there is no infringement such as offside, a foul or handball.
The team that scores the most goals wins the match. If the number of goals scored between the two sides is equal at the end of a match, it is a draw.
When competition rules require that there must be a winner, the outcome will be decided by either:
- Away goals rule
- Penalty kicks.
A player is in an offside position if he is closer to the goal line than both the ball and the second-to-last defender, but only if he is in the opposition half of the field.
Law 14 : The Penalty KickFeinting in the run up to taking a penalty kick to confuse the goalkeeper is permitted. However, feinting to kick the ball once the player has completed his run up is considered an act of unsporting behavior for which the player must be cautioned by the referee.
Preparing for the penalty kick
The referee must confirm the following before the kick is taken:
- the kicker is identified
- the ball is placed properly on the penalty mark
- the goalkeeper is on the goal line between the posts and facing the kicker
All other players on the field are:
- Outside the penalty area - Outside the penalty arc
- Behind the ball.